You’ve invested in the 100% recycled material reusable water bottle, you shudder at the thought of plastic straws, you haven’t stepped inside a Primark in over 3 WHOLE years. Yep, you’re a certified sustainability star, but even sustainability stars poo and wipe their bums too.
So let me ask you this, is your toilet roll sustainable? Have you ever even considered whether it is? Do you even know what brand you use? Be honest, you just buy the cheapest don’t you? Hey, don’t stress, not many people spend their time pondering the eco credentials of the plush little squares we wipe with. And that’s ok! Or it was. I’ve woken you up. No more blissful bog roll innocence. After reading this article you’ll NEVER look at that friendly white spool EVER AGAIN. There’s a dark side to that white paper, and I’m here to show you the truth. Are you ready?
Why should you think twice about what toilet paper you buy?
When it comes to manufacturing bog roll, there’s a whole bunch of ways that unsustainable practices can creep in...
- Source of materials
Traditional toilet paper is typically made from virgin wood pulp (not the blood of a thousand) obtained from trees. Every year over 1 million trees are cut down just to make loo roll. Now, it’s safe to say that cutting down trees just so you can keep your bum clean isn’t exactly amazing for the planet. Technically, saying bye-bye to loo roll and making a bidet your new bathroom bestie is probably the most sustainable thing that you could do. Don’t worry, though, you’ve got more options than this if bum-guns and bidets lowkey gross you okay (same).
When it comes to picking your bog roll, look out for brands that use recycled paper materials, or who source their pulp from a more sustainable source such as responsibly sourced wood, or even something fast-regenerative such as bamboo.
- Manufacturing processes:
The production of toilet paper can be HUGELY energy and water intensive, plus it can pump a whole bunch of nasty chemicals into the environment. Sustainable manufacturing practices aim to minimise environmental impact by reducing energy consumption, water usage, and emissions, as well as employing eco-friendly manufacturing processes. If your poop-paper isn’t made using sustainable manufacturing principles... you know what you’ve got to do.
Some toilet paper is bleached to achieve that pearly-white appearance (here I was thinking the only bleach ‘down-there’ was for your arsehole. Just me? Yikes.) Anyway, chlorine-based bleaching methods can release harmful chemicals into the environment. Toilet paper that undergoes elemental chlorine-free (ECF) or totally chlorine-free (TCF) bleaching processes is more environmentally friendly.
The packaging of toilet paper can contribute to a significant amount of waste generation. This one is pretty self explanatory, we all know the difference between unsustainable and sustainable packaging. Say it with me: SCREW SINGLE USE PLASTIC! I don’t have to remind you about the entire islands of discarded plastic floating in our beautiful oceans do I? Remember the turtles? Yeah, single use plastic doesn’t ever go away, it pollutes our oceans, which in turn poisons the entire eco system... blah blah blah you’ve heard it all before and I don’t want to get preachy out here. Just don’t get complacent! Plastic packaging is all around us, including all over our bog roll. Look out for the tons of brands wrapping their paper in recycled materials or other eco-friendly options. And if you don’t know where to find brands that are doing so, read on! I’ve got all the details.
I mean think about it: if you’re buying toilet paper made in China, then you’re paying for someone to ship that halfway across the world all so you can wipe your arsehole. Before you say, I’m sure that my loo roll doesn’t come all the way from China, loads of so-called “eco” brands claim to be so because they use bamboo instead of virgin wood pulp. But, a lot of our bamboo comes from China and subsequently a bunch of loo roll is manufactured out there. So, even though these brands use a slightly greener material, using air travel to ship your paper across the world still racks up a pretty hefty carbon footprint. That’s greenwashing at it’s finest y’all.
Which brands should you look out for?
Who Gives A Crap loo roll tries their hardest to minimise their carbon output and environmental impact by using either 100% recycled materials, or sustainably sourced bamboo. Plus, their packaging is 100% plastic free, and they provide carbon offsetting schemes on any orders over 20 quid (bulk buying is your wallet and the planet’s bestie!).
On top of all of this, they donate 50% of their profits to make sure that everyone has access to clean water and a toilet within our lifetime. I know this doesn’t sound as groundbreaking as idk causing world peace... but did you know that toilets have saved more lives than any other modern invention? And that until this day, over 40% of the global population don’t have access to a clean toilet, which means that 289,000 children under 5 years old die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused from poor sanitation; thats one child every two minutes. So basically, you’re doing a really fucking good think when you opt for Who Gives A Crap loo roll!
Ecoleaf are your go to for bog-standard eco friendly bog roll. Everything is made from 100% recycled materials sourced in the UK (so low transportation carbon output!), and are wrapped up in recycled paper packaging...no plastic here! Plus, unlike a lot of other sustainable swaps (not naming any names), these are relatively affordable. For those of you who don’t enjoy sinking half your wages on loo roll, these are a wonderful option.
Greencane offers toilet paper that is made from a combination of recycled sugarcane and sustainable bamboo. Yep, wiping your bum has never been sweeter... or more sustainable. Plus, their products are free from chlorine bleach and come in plastic-free packaging. All the good stuff. Can’t go wrong here.
Inspired by a trip to South East Asia, where founders (and couple) saw a shit-ton of bamboo going to waste, The Cheeky Panda was born! This brand makes their loo roll entirely from bamboo (already a sustainable option), that would have otherwise been left to rot. Double sustainability points! Their products are also free from bleach, and each year, they donate a sizeable portion of our revenue to offset our unavoidable carbon emissions. Wow, they truly do it all. Sustainable high achiever energy over here ngl.
Did we save the best for last? I think so. Say hello to Naked Sprout: the UK’s most sustainable toilet paper. Yep, you heard that right, they produce 50% fewer emissions than their closest eco alternatives. With no plastic, no harsh chemicals, and no bleach, they’re pretty squeaky clean (just like your bum will be after using). Most significantly, however, they’ve broken up with fossil fuels: they manufacture all their rolls using renewable energy sources, making them the world’s only B Corp certified tissue manufactures. Certified carbon neutral manufacturing. Pretty cool, right?